CHINA SAYS IT PURSUES PEACE, US SAYS COMMITTED TO ASEAN CENTRALITY
During the opening remarks, Chinese Premier Mr Li touted the advanced trade relations and “brotherly ties” between ASEAN and China, pointing to their elevated comprehensive strategic partnership as a “strong testament” of strategic trust between the two.
“No matter how the international situation evolves, China and ASEAN have maintained close exchanges and communication, respected each other’s development path and accommodated each other’s major concerns,” he said.
“We have preserved peace and tranquillity in East Asia in a world fraught with turbulence and change.”
He also pointed out how China has reached “important consensus” separately with six ASEAN countries on building a community with their shared future based on a concept introduced by Mr Xi in 2013.
“And we hope to do so with more countries in the future,” said Mr Li, without naming the countries though earlier media reports in July identified them as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.
During the ASEAN-US Summit, Ms Harris said the US is committed to ASEAN centrality, as she announced plans to set up the first-ever ASEAN-US Center in Washington DC.
The centre, established through a public-private partnership, will support official ASEAN engagements as well as exchanges between businesses and academic institutions.
“We have a shared commitment to international rules and norms, and to our partnership in national and regional issues such as the crisis in Myanmar,” she said.
Ms Harris said the US will continue to press the Myanmar regime to end the “horrific” violence, release those who are unjustly detained, and re-establish the country’s path to inclusive democracy.
“I believe as leaders, we must address global challenges of today, while also investing in a long-term vision,” she added.
“The United States and the nations of Southeast Asia share many long-term interests and priorities as well as a long-term vision.”
KOREAN PENINSULA SITUATION “WORRYING”
In separate summits on Wednesday, ASEAN leaders also met with South Korea President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
Mr Lee said the situation in the Korean Peninsula situation remains “worrying”, and that Singapore has consistently and strongly condemned North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile launches, most recently in July.
“These have further raised tensions on the peninsula and violated UNSC (United Nations Security Council) resolutions,” he said.
Mr Yoon on Tuesday had called on Southeast Asian nations to “join forces” in responding to North Korea’s nuclear threats, as Washington warned Pyongyang’s leader Kim Jong Un was set to make a rare trip to Russia for arms talks.
“Singapore will continue to work with the international community to promote peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” Mr Lee said.